Thursday, November 20, 2014

11/18 "Demystifying Judgeship II" - Event Photographs

Photo Credit: Divya Sundaram

Photo Credit: Divya Sundaram

Photo Credit: Divya Sundaram

Photo Credit: Divya Sundaram

Friday, November 14, 2014

11/18 "Demystifying Judgeship II" - Panel with NYC Judges

Don't forget to RSVP for "Demystifying Judgeships II" to learn how Judge Toko Serita and Judge Robert E. Torres forged successful legal careers that led them to the judge's bench.

Judicial Biographies:

Justice Robert E. Torres
Administrative Judge
Bronx County Supreme Court, Criminal Term

Justice Robert E. Torres is presently the Administrative Judge of Bronx County Supreme Court, Criminal Term. Prior to his appointment as Administrative Judge, he served as Deputy Administrative Judge of both the Civil and Criminal Term in the Bronx County Supreme Court.

Admitted to practice law in 1978, Justice Torres first ascended to the bench in 1995. He has presided over matters in Criminal Court, Family Court and both the Criminal and Civil Terms of Supreme Court. He also sat on the Appellate Term, First Department, for several years.

In addition to his regular judicial duties, he is a member of the Franklin H. Williams Commission and a member of the Judges’ Advisory Council. He is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Supreme Court Justices Association of the City of New York and the Bronx County Bar Association. He has lectured at the New York State Judicial Institute, Bronx County Bar Association, Monroe College Summer Law Program, and John Jay College and City College of the City University of New York.

In 1974, he started his legal career as a paralegal for the law firm of Fotopoulos and Rosenblatt, a general practice firm specializing in personal injury. He remained with the firm once admitted to practice law. While in private practice, he appeared at every level of trial court in the State of New York, in addition to the federal District Courts. In 1981, he went to work for the New York City Department of Transportation as Associate Counsel. While there, he handled labor and contracts issues and represented the Department at inter-agency meetings on both the city and state levels. In 1984, he started working in the courts as Court Attorney to the Honorable Elbert C. Hinkson, J.S.C., where he remained until he went on the bench.

His commitment to service in the community is reflected by his involvement in a number of activities, such as serving as a founding member of The Bronx Hispanic Foundation; past Trustee, The Bronx Museum of the Arts; former member, Boy Scouts of America, Bronx Council and Executive Committee; past President, The Bronx Council of the Arts Board of Directors; past Chairperson, Community Board 9; and former member, Urban League Advisory Board for Bronx County.

He is a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and attended Brooklyn Law School for a period of time. He completed his legal education by clerking for the law firm of Fotopoulos and Rosenblatt. 

Judge Toko Serita
Acting Supreme Court Justice
New York City Criminal Court, Queens County

Toko Serita was appointed to the New York City Criminal Court in 2005 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and is the first Japanese-American Judge in New York State as well as the first Asian-American woman appointed to the Criminal Court. In January 2014 she was appointed as an Acting Supreme Court Justice. 

Judge Serita presides over the Queens Misdemeanor Treatment Court and the Queens Mental Health Recovery Court. She has also presided over the Human Trafficking Intervention Court since 2008, the first and largest court in this state solely dedicated to serving trafficking survivors and those arrested on prostitution charges by providing alternatives to incarceration through a collaborative effort with trafficking victims service organizations, the Queens DAs Office and the defense bar. 

She is the author of a law review article titled, "In Our Own Backyards: The Need for a Coordinated Judicial Response to Human Trafficking," in the NYU Review of Law and Social Change (2013) which provided the framework for the creation of eight new human trafficking intervention courts throughout New York State in an unprecedented initiative started by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in the fall of 2013. 

Prior to her appointment, Judge Serita joined the court system in 1999 and served as the Executive Assistant to the Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court Queens County, Criminal and Civil Terms, first to the late Hon. Steven W. Fisher, and then the Hon. Leslie G. Leach, from 2002 - 2005. From 1989 - 1999, Judge Serita was an appellate attorney at the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Appeals Bureau, where she argued before the New York State Appellate Division, First and Second Departments, the New York Court of Appeals, and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

She is a former co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), and was previously the Citywide Chair of the Gender Fairness Committee of the New York City Criminal Court from 2007-2010. She is currently a member of the statewide Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, the NYS Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, the Asian American Bar Association of New York, the National Association of Women Judges, and the newly formed Asian American Judges Association of New York, which she helped found. 

Judge Serita was most recently selected as one of ten Japanese-American leaders from around the country to be part of the 2014 Japanese-American Leadership Delegation (JALD), which traveled to Japan in March to promote US-Japan relations, where they met with Japanese leaders in the business, government, academic, non‑profit and cultural sectors. 

She is a graduate of Vassar College and City University of New York School of Law and is a lifelong New Yorker.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

11/11 Panel with 1Ls from Columbia Law School

When: 7-8pm on Tuesday, November 11
Where: Room 120, Broadway Residence Hall, 2900 Broadway (Bring CUID)

Wonder what it's like to be a law student? Come to our Panel and Q&A session and ask 1L students from Columbia Law School any questions you'd like about their law school experiences, career paths to date, law school admissions strategies and more!

This event will be sponsored by Blueprint LSAT Prep - so we'll also have FREE PIZZA and LSAT prep course discounts available!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Columbia Pre-Law has a new logo!

Our new logo:

We're super excited about our new logo, designed by our talented 
Public Relations Partner Divya Sundaram!

This is the old logo that we are retiring:

Good-bye, old logo! :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

10/23 Law School Admissions Workshop with Admit Advantage

It was such a pleasure having Christina Taber-Kewene (B.A. Stanford, J.D. Columbia, former Clifford Chance and Hogan Lovells lawyer) from Admit Advantage speak to us tonight! The session was extremely practical and helpful, and we received very positive feedback from the audience.

(We also had 5 types of pizza: Pepperoni & Cheese, Bacon Cheese, Buffalo Chicken, Hawaiian and Pacific Veggie. It was epic.)

*Remember that if you use our promo code CULAW, you can get 10% off services at!

Photo Credit: Divya Sundaram

Photo Credit: Divya Sundaram

Photo Credit: Divya Sundaram

Photo Credit: Divya Sundaram

Saturday, October 18, 2014

10/23 Law School Admissions Workshop with Admit Advantage

When: Thursday, October 23rd at 7pm
Where: Lerner 569

Columbia Pre-Law Society will be hosting an admissions consulting event with Admit Advantage on October 23rd.

Our guest speaker, Christina Taber-Kewene will be giving a presentation on how to create a top-notch law school application.

Students at all stages of the application process are welcome to attend. Come on the 23rd to learn more about the law school application process and enjoy free pizza with other pre-law students!

*Use the promo code CULAW to get 10% off services at!

Poster Design: Lilia Cherchari

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

10/14 "Business Law" General Body Meeting

Genevieve making announcements about upcoming Pre-Law Society events: 
Columbia-Barnard Law Fair: this Thursday! Morgan Stanley Career Symposium deadline: this Friday! 
Admit Advantage Admissions Consulting event: next Thursday!

Dean Cindy Cogdill telling us about Pre-Law advising at Columbia

An engaging and hilarious speech by our main speaker for tonight — Mr. David Feldman. Here, he's telling us about his career path: his insights about law school, his experience starting his own law firm, his current corporate practice and his thoughts about entrepreneurship.

Winners of the free book raffle from tonight's event! Thanks for coming, everyone!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

10/14 "Business Law" General Body Meeting

Join the Pre-Law Society for our second General Body meeting of the year on Tuesday, October 14th! We've invited David Feldman, a corporate and securities attorney and partner at Richardson & Patel to speak to us about legal education, the job market, as well as his career path and area of practice. There will be a Q&A -- bring your questions, and we look forward to a lively discussion!

Poster Design: Divya Sundaram

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

9/16 General Body Meeting

Thank you all for coming to our first General Body meeting of the year tonight -- it was a full house! It was really great having representatives from other student groups attend as guest speakers, and tell us about law-related opportunities with their organizations. We hope you found the session helpful. Our next General Body meeting will be next month, on October 14th. Our guest speaker will be a law firm partner who focuses on corporate and securities law, and we'll be having a Q&A session as usual. It'll be fun -- and we can't wait to see you there!

9/16 General Body Meeting

We will be having our first General Body meeting at 8pm, Lerner 568 TONIGHT (Tues Sept 16th). We will be joined by Pre-Professional Advisor Cynthia Cogdill, as well as representatives from a number of other legally-minded campus organizations. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to network and hear insights on how to explore the legal field at Columbia and beyond! We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, September 5, 2014

9/5 Activities Day and Information Session -- a massive success!

A massive THANK YOU to the 186 people who signed up for our List-Serv at Activities Day today, and for the ~50 people who attended our Information Session tonight. Today was a massive success, and we had so much fun meeting all of you!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

[Free Pizza] Pre-Law Information Session **TOMORROW** Sept 5th

Want to learn about our club? Want FREE PIZZA? 

Come to the Pre-Law Society's Information Session 
TOMORROW, Friday 9/5, from 7-9pm 
at the Satow Conference Room in Lerner!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

9/5 NSOP Meet and Greet

We had a great time meeting the first-years at the NSOP Meet and Greet today!

Did you miss us today? Don't worry — we'll also be at Activities Day (12-4pm) and our Pre-Law Info Session (7pm) next Friday, September 5th!

Welcome, Class of 2018!

The Pre-Law Society will be at these NSOP events this Sunday and next Friday:
  • NSOP Meet and Greet (Aug 31: 2.30-3.30pm, Lerner Hall)
  • Activities Day (Sept 5: 12-4pm, College Walk)
  • Pre-Law Society Meet and Greet (Sept 5: After 7pm, location TBA)

We look forward to meeting you soon!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meet Our Board: Sahng-Ah Yoo, Co-President

Name, Hometown, Major:
Sahng-Ah Yoo
Milford, CT
Psychology | Pre-law

Current and Previous Roles on the Pre-Law Society Board:
I have the pleasure of serving as Co-President for the 2014-2015 school year. Previously, I was a general body member (’12-’13) and Pre-Professional Officer (’13-’14).

What are some of your "career highlights" and/or professional goals?
My interest in law slowly developed from my initial involvement and concerns with women’s rights. Looking back, a huge turning point was when I read Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn in high school. I became aware of sex trafficking, poverty, and truly inhumane deaths of women around the world and understood how abysmal education, healthcare and human rights protection have been in developing countries. But I also recognized and emphasize that this is a continuing issue in “developed countries” as well. 

Inspired, I got involved with women’s rights issues whenever I could – attending UN Millennium conferences, supporting national women’s rights initiatives, and creating a National Organization for Women chapter in my freshman year at college. Through these various activities, I realized that change should be made not only by direct service to individual sex-trafficked and abused women but also by systematic changes in this nation’s fundamental institutions. That is a part of the reason why, in more recent years, I have aspired to work in the legal and the judicial systems, specifically those of the public sector. I believe that the law remains the fundamental basis of our society both as a representative of our society’s ideals and as a precedent for future progress and societal maturity. 

This new-found interest in law led me to an internship with an immigration attorney at her law office, dealing with refugees and undocumented immigrants, especially related to students in higher education, culminating in a paper focused on translating the legal terminology to a more accessible language for college administrators and faculty and pushing them to use their voice to push for a more equal society. 

Recently, I completed an internship with the New York Civil Liberties Union as a Solomon and Seymour Fisher Fellow that gave me closer look and better appreciation for the kinds of issues and number of people it takes to keep non-profit human rights watchdog organizations alive and pertinent. All of their work was inspiring, but I found the criminal justice system problems to be the most fascinating and urgent – just think of the Orange is the New Black campaign, upcoming Hurrell-Harring case, and recent tragic police-shooting incidents and I’m sure you’ll understand why.

As a senior at Columbia University studying in the Psychology Honors Research Program and in the Pre-law Program, I am interested in promoting human rights through the justice system while understanding the psyche of our society and the underlying reasons for inhumane actions through psychology. 

Do you have any advice for other pre-law students at Columbia?
As strange as this may sound, I would advise incoming pre-law students to really just avoid over-focusing on law school and to focus on finding out what you enjoy doing, instead. Don’t think about law school – other than, perhaps, the LSAT. Rather, really spend the first couple years at Columbia taking intro courses for every major and after choosing one, really delving into it. I say this for two reasons:

1. Law schools, unlike med schools, don’t ask you to take certain courses and thus, the majors that are open to you are endless. Law schools are more interested in your academic prowess and ability to excel in a certain field so it’s important that you find something that is, if not a passion of yours, is at least something you can enjoy studying in depth.

2. As you develop your interests in a field, you may find that law school actually isn’t as appealing as grad school or another field of work. And this realization is more important that preparing for law school. Law school is a heavy investment, considering the amount of time, effort, and money that goes into it. Having a BA in something you were deeply invested in will help you no matter what you end up doing.

What's a fun fact about yourself?
I say this in every class the teacher makes us go around the table to introduce ourselves, so I’m not sure how “fun” this is anymore but my name means “Elephant Child.” 

There is a back story. If you’re interested, come find me at one of our Pre-law events!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Meet Our Board: Genevieve Antono, Co-President

Name and Hometown:
Genevieve Antono
Singapore/Hong Kong
Current and Previous Roles on the Pre-Law Society Board:
I am currently Co-President of the 2014-2015 Board, and I was Vice-President/Recruitment Manager last year.

What are some of your “career highlights” and/or professional goals?
This summer (2014), I worked as a Graduate Recruitment intern at the Hong Kong office of Clifford Chance LLP, a leading international law firm. There, I assisted the Human Resources department with its summer vacation scheme for law students — this was a very unique and exciting position for an undergrad to be in, to have the opportunity to observe interviews and assessments at a "magic circle" firm and see what goes on behind the scenes at HR.

I've also completed an internship with the Office of Public Affairs at the New York State Unified Court System. That experience provided me with wonderful mentors and the invaluable opportunity to observe and conduct informational interviews with New York City judges and their clerks.

And, last summer (2013), I worked at the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, an incredible not-for-profit that emphasizes conflict resolution, mediation and restorative (as opposed to punitive) approaches in schools. My time with the Morningside Center was incredibly transformative and my summer with them definitely informed how I view issues of justice and public education.

Do you have any advice for other Pre-Law students at Columbia?
I believe in, as far as possible, doing undergraduate internships and gaining work experience across a range of legal environments: the courts, DA's offices, law firms, public interest organizations, and so on. The main point isn't to bolster your CV or law school application, but to help clarify your own interests.

For example, I initially didn’t think that I would ever be interested in corporate practice, but something definitely "clicked" during my summer at Clifford Chance. There, I got to learn about the firm's main practice areas, as well as meet dedicated, driven lawyers who were genuinely interested in their work. 

My interest in commercial law, then, has gone from a "no" to a "hey, this is actually quite interesting" — I'd never have known this about myself had I not decided to spend this summer at this firm.

So, definitely, do internships to find out what areas of law you might like, what you don't, and if you even want to be a lawyer (or like hanging out with them!) Law school's too expensive of an investment to jump into without some due diligence.

However, my best and most important piece of advice is... Join the Pre-Law Society! Join our List Serv, come to our meetings, attend our events and run for elections. After all, half the fun of being "pre-law" and exploring this career path is doing it with a group of fun, like-minded friends!

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I have the magical ability to make entire pints of ice cream disappear. Especially Pineapple Coconut ice cream. Mmmmm...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Meet Our Board: Korey Petgrave, Events Chair

Name, Hometown, Major:
Korey Petgrave
Newark, NJ
Mechanical Engineering
Current and Previous Roles on the Pre-Law Society Board:
As a first year, I was selected to be the Academic Affairs Coordinator.  In this position, I had the responsibilities of coordinating LSAT prep sessions and inviting distinguished speakers to our meetings.  Now, as a sophomore, I am proud to be serving as the Society’s Events Chair where my main responsibilities will be to organize and plan all events we will hold this upcoming academic year.

What are some of your “career highlights” and/or professional goals?
The area of law that interests me most is intellectual property.  Whether you are texting on your new Samsung S5 or searching Google on your Apple MacBook, you are interacting with products protected by patents and copyright laws.  Intellectual Property law offers me the perfect outlet to combine my interest for law and technology into one, and I hope to someday work as an Intellectual Property Attorney.

Do you have any advice for other Pre-Law students at Columbia?
Get involved with the Columbia Pre-Law Society and take advantage of having Columbia Law School across the street.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
My favorite thing for breakfast is a Jamaican dish known as ackee and saltfish with breadfruit (if you’ve never heard of it, look it up; if you have, make me a plate!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Meet Our Board: Antonia Miller, Academic Affairs Partner

Name, Hometown, Major:
Antonia Miller
Paris, France
Political Science | Human Rights Studies
Current and Previous Roles on the Pre-Law Society Board:
I started out as a Pre-Professional Partner in the 2013 - 2014 year. The group's eye-opening events and a newfound interest in law following a successful summer internship motivated me to apply for the board in order to take part. This year, I look forward to serving as Academic Affairs Partner and taking on a new role in the Pre-Law Society.

What are some of your "career highlights" and/or professional goals?
As a Political Science major I started out with a particular interest in global issue and international relations. The more I delved into course in Human Rights Studies, I began to realize my interest in law. Last summer I had the opportunity to intern for the General Counsel at the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, where I assisted law students with their work regarding immigrant rights in New York City. Last fall semester I also interned at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, which was an equally valuable and interesting experience and I learned a lot about the rights cases the Center does research on. This summer I worked at a boutique law firm where I gained tremendous experience drafting legal documents and much experience attending courts, depositions, consultations and more.

Do you have any advice for other Pre-Law students at Columbia?
I would tell other pre-law students not to worry too much about finding a perfect formula for undergrad that will get you into law school. The beauty of this track is that you have the freedom to pursue the courses you want and I think everyone should take advantage of that, especially if it means that you'll do better in your classes. I love Political Science, but I would never have forced myself to take it just because I'm pre-law if I didn't like it. Be you and you'll do well!
What's a fun fact about yourself
 I'm a twin! (And no we don't look alike, and we don't have telepathic powers).

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Meet Our Board: Eileen Wong, Pre-Professional Partner

Name, Hometown, Major:
Eileen Wong
Vancouver, Canada 
Political Science | Business Management
Current and Previous Roles on the Pre-Law Society Board:
This year, I am the Partner of the Pre-Professional Committee on the Pre-Law Society Board. Last year, I was a General Body Member. I am so excited about this upcoming year, and we have a lot of great events and panels planned!
What are some of your "career highlights" and/or professional goals?
I only started to become interested in law the summer before my freshman year at Columbia. I decided to try it out, and I interned at a law firm specializing in real estate and fraud litigation, and also a Canadian immigration law firm. This summer, I interned with the Children’s Defense Fund in their Juvenile Justice and Education Justice sectors, and I also interned with a Judge in the Queens Criminal Courts. I also worked abroad this summer in a teaching fellowship in Hong Kong and Shanghai. I am unsure what field of law I will want to specialize in, but there’s tons of time to figure it out! Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to know more or if you have any questions! 

Do you have any advice for other Pre-Law students at Columbia?
Go out and experience different fields of law first-hand!
What's a fun fact about you?
My favorite animals are cats, turtles, and giraffes! Talk with me about animals any day!